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New North Suffolk hospital approved

The Virginia Health Department has approved Bon Secours Maryview Medical Center’s certificate of public need application to establish a new hospital in North Suffolk, Bon Secours officials announced on Thursday.

Bon Secours filed the COPN application in July in order to transfer 18 acute-care beds and four operating rooms from Bon Secours Maryview in Portsmouth, and build a short-stay, surgically-focused hospital on the Bon Secours Harbour View campus in North Suffolk. The Virginia COPN program requires owners and sponsors of medical care facility projects to secure a COPN from the State Health Commissioner before initiating such projects.

This new hospital has long been a vision for Bon Secours for the past decade, according to Bon Secours Maryview Chief Executive Officer Paul Gaden, and it was just a matter of time.

“We had to wait for the right time, and the right time is now,” Gaden said on Thursday. “We knew it was the right time, because the community is telling us that this is the next care setting that’s needed at Harbour View.”

Bon Secours expects to invest about $77 million to build the 75,000-square-foot, two-story facility at the northeast corner of Bon Secours Drive and Harbour Town Parkway, according to the press release. This facility is being designed to deliver efficient surgical care to patients, with specialties and procedures that require a short length of stay.

Gaden said that this will be Virginia’s first inpatient facility with a surgical focus.

“Operations will be geared toward providing that high-touch, efficient care so we can return the patient back to their home setting as soon as possible,” Gaden said.

Bon Secours is expected to break ground for the new hospital in early 2019, and construction is expected to take up to two years.

Bon Secours Maryview will also continue to offer comprehensive inpatient and outpatient care at its Portsmouth campus. Gaden added that the transfer of beds and operating rooms will allow for improvements at Maryview — such as larger and more modern operating rooms — that will address the population’s developing needs.

Bon Secours has been a provider in the North Suffolk community for nearly two decades, and one of the “first believers” in the area’s development, Suffolk Economic Development Director Kevin Hughes said.

“They continue to invest in the surrounding area, and it’s just a winning scenario for Suffolk and the surrounding area to have more medical services for citizens,” he said.

Earlier this year, Sentara Healthcare also submitted a COPN application for a new hospital in North Suffolk. But Virginia COPN program staff recommended in October that State Health Commissioner Dr. Norman Oliver deny Sentara’s application.

The Sentara proposal was for an inpatient, acute-care hospital with 24 acute-care beds, two general-purpose operating rooms and one CT scanner at the Sentara BelleHarbour Campus on Bridge Road. Only the proposed addition of a CT scanner was recommended for approval.

Sentara recently opened an ambulatory surgery center on the BelleHarbour campus. That building is complete, and the expansion of the 24-hour, freestanding emergency room in the original building should be finished in March, according to spokesman Dale Gauding.

“With continued population growth and demand for services in North Suffolk, we will wait for an appropriate time to re-file our application for a hospital on the campus,” Gauding wrote in an email.